Well, Hello Dolly!

If there is something Dolly hasn’t mastered, I am unaware of it. She is a talented singer, actress, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, philanthropist, cook, author, and theme park kingpin (the female Walt Disney). If she were to become a master skydiver, I would not be surprised.

Before I ever ventured down south, Dolly was my gateway to all things southern. Her musical tales of country-style solitude (rivers, trees) kept me afloat in overcrowded NYC subways. Her easy laugh and gentle “y’all(s)” buoyed my youthful days in Las Vegas. Thanks to Dolly I sought out southern style biscuits and brisket soup while visiting the lower half of the U.S.

Sadly, I have yet to make it to the magical Dollywood – an entire world conjured up by Dolly- but it is on my bucket list. I intend to go soon and go often. The world can have Disney, but I want Dolly.

In the meantime, I have buried myself inside of Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s (see how the title rolls off the tongue). This gem of a cookbook contains many of Dolly’s personal recipes as well as a few direct from Dollywood. Naturally, I was drawn to the Hello Dolly Bars (and not just for the musical reference). These bars, a riff on a riff of a common 7 layer bar recipe, are easy, fun, and decadent.

I highly recommend mixing the melted butter and graham first, baking it for a few minutes (about 5), then adding the layers of deliciousness (but I am transcribing Dolly’s recipe “as is” for the true fans). And though I am not a huge fan of condensed milk desserts, it just works perfectly here with the coconut and chocolate (a personal fave combo).

Make sure the bars cool completely (avoid temptation), and cut and serve in bite size pieces. If you are feeling the hankering for extra chocolat-y-ness, drizzle with a tiny bit of melted dark chocolate. Might as well layer upon the layer. There is something sweet and southern about these bars – like Dolly herself. Enjoy.

Hello Dolly Bars RECIPE ADAPTED from Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterschotch chips (an added bonus!)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk


Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Pour the butter into an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Spread the graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of the pan. Arrange the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips over the crumbs, followed by the coconut and pecans. Pour the condensed milk (use about 2/3) over the pecans. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. The bars will not look like they’re cooked; they need to cool on a rack to firm up. Cut into bite size bars and serve.